Ben Nicholson

Venice 2012: Brian De Palma’s ‘Passion’ preview

Chosen as part of the official selection for the 2012 Venice Film Festival where it will premiere, the first trailer for erotic thriller Passion (2012) is now online. Directed by Brian De Palma, the film is likely to draw comparisons to such past efforts as Basic Instinct (1992) and the director’s own Dressed to Kill (1980) and Femme Fatale (2002).

Based upon French director Alain Corneau’s successful suspense Love Crime (2010), the plot of Passion sees Christine (Rachel McAdams) and Isabelle (Noomi Rapace) as co-workers in a seemingly sterile corporate environment. However, simmering below the muted colours and naturalistic make-up is a deeper attraction and barely concealed sexual tension. When one of them passes off the other’s idea as her own, things boil over into a psychological and seductively dangerous game of revenge.

Filling the two lead roles formerly occupied by Ludivine Sagnier and Kristin Scott Thomas (in Corneau’s original) are McAdams and Rapace. McAdams lines up as Christine, the powerful and lustful boss of Isabelle who appears a little more reserved. On further inspection though, it is the latter that dons a decorated mask and wig and would appear to have something of a fixation on her superior. They will both be further supported by Paul Anderson, Karoline Herfurth and Rainer Bock.

De Palma obviously has form with this kind of material previously, and from Passion’s trailer he would seem to have a good balance of sapphic desire, mind games and the impending sense that blood will most certainly be spilt. Whether it will be that of Christine or Isabelle is yet to be seen – unless, of course, you’ve already seen the Corneau original.


The 69th Venice Film Festival runs from 29 August-8 September. For more of our Venice 2012 coverage, simply follow this link.

Ben Nicholson